Friday, November 27, 2015


Upside Down

I did it.  I had a bit of a glitch when I realized that I hadn't advanced the quilt far enough on the frame.  I eased it forward, though, needle still in the quilt, and managed to complete the upside down feather.  I will fix that mistake when I come around with the pebbles.  If you see faint green in the center of the feather, you are seeing chalk dust.  It will come out.  I am not sure that the glob of oily lint that fell from the needle bar will.  I always clean everything before I start but that may have been caught in the last thread guide.  AKKKK.


Friday, November 20, 2015


I dunno.  I thought that maybe I would have energy to quilt last weekend.  It is usually so therapeutic.  Instead I went through the photos on my computer, cleaning out thousands of sewing machine photos and  grouping the dog photos into three albums.  Sunday I took Frannie for a ride in the car.  She loves that.  Wrigley hates the car.  He stood at the window.  I know that dogs don't think the way human do.  I couldn't help anthropomorphizing:  I wanted to reassure him that I would bring her back to him.

Indeed I did.  He was happy to see us.  It was also dinner time when we returned.  He was happy to eat.

On Wednesday I finally got down to the business of stitching out the corners of the quilt.   I made some registration marks and went to it.
I did fairly well with the large feather in the middle.  But when I started quilting the one on the left, my brain farted.  Instead of quilting the feather with the bump back method, I started with the hook method creating a most bizarre looking feather.  I did better on the right side.  The pebbles are ok, I imagine I will get better with time. 

It is quite tedious, as you can imagine.  All those pebbles, over and over again.  White on white is hard to see and I never attained a decent rhythm.

I took a break.  The dogs and I walked up to the top of the hill.  We hadn't been able to do that in weeks.  We took Wilson's bell along and I jingled it all the way.  Frannie found some deer poop to eat and Wrigley joined right in.  Dogs.

When we got back, I had intended to only stitch out the feathers on the other side but went right into the pebble stitching. The middle feather is smaller.  I don't like that.  Sucks to be me.  I am not picking out thousands of tiny stitches.  I prefer to use Non stitch regulation when I am Free Motion Quilting (FMQ).  I have an easier time with the tension. But sometimes the stitches are quite tiny.

I will need to make these feathers upside down on the next two corners.  I have been imagining that in my minds eye.  Believe me I will practice on the white board first.  It doesn't have to be perfect but it shouldn't look like shit, either.

I must now decide how I will quilt the center.  
 The borders surrounding the Celtic applique require no more than stitch in the ditch.  AKKKK!  Diagonal SID.  Poor me.  I would like the Celtic knot to stand out but I do not want to do more pebbles.  Echoing may be the way to go. 

Friday, November 13, 2015


Now I am at another design decision point.  I must figure out what to quilt in the large triangles framing the center of Mom's quilt

 I considered a celtic knot, to mirror the appliqued center block.  I realized that would require ruler work and I haven't practiced with the curved ruler yet.  I thought about long parallel diagonal lines but that, too, would require ruler work.  I prefer Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) to the tedium of ruler work.

I decided to try feathers with background filler to set them off.  I tried pebbles and straight lines. The pebbles gave the background more interest and texture; plus Steven liked that better.  Who am I to reject good advice?

 It's dark here in New York by late afternoon and the bright florescent lights don't show up the texture in a photo.  I illuminated this with a small,  lighted make-up mirror. (I use it to check the backing stitches).

Here you can see the detail better.  I used an old sheet and some scrap batting to make a piece the same size as the triangle in the quilt.  It shrunk up quite a bit.  I like the effect.  I think I can accomplish this on the Nolting.  

I stitched this out this afternoon on the 201-2.  It was good therapy.  Overnight, Wilson was up three times and was clearly getting weaker and sicker.  He deteriorated through the morning and while I had hoped to keep him home until he passed,  he was clearly suffering.   He lay peacefully in the back seat of the car, his head in my lap as we drove to the vet.  We didn't have to move him inside.  Despite the bad weather, they came out to the car to lovingly tend to him. 

He is buried in the yard.  It was sleeting and snowing as Steven and I filled in his grave.  Wrigley and Frannie came out but didn't really pay much attention to Wilson's body.  Wrigley sniffed, Frannie whined and barked from a few feet away.  They did not seem perturbed.  Even my sudden bursts of sobbing don't set them off now.  He was a good boy and a fine dog.  I will miss him so very, very much.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


This morning's effort.  I think I will go with this.  It is easier and looks less messy.  The blending thread color helps.  I just hope that I can see it on the frame. 

I had to turn off all the lights, but I managed.  Assuredly, quilting with light thread on light fabric should be done during daylight.

Friday, November 6, 2015

FMQ (Free Motion Quilting) on the 201

I have been stumped.  I did not want to just stipple the next section of Mom's quilt.  I am tired of swirls and feathers.  I toyed with the idea of repeating the pattern from the first border.  Nope.  I could just quilt wavy lines all the way across; B O R I N G.  The creative juices were just not flowing.

It might have something to do with my preoccupation with Canine Hospice.  Slowly and subtly Wilson decreased his food consumption.  First he would fail to finish his full meal.  He would take it if I hand fed him.  Then he refused kibble.  I tried another one, no dice.  So a few weeks ago we took him to the vet.  He was very anemic and we searched for a cause; no obvious bleeding.    After a trial of antibiotics and continued decline, the vet confirmed my fears; Wilson's cancer is taking its toll.    I am devastated and irrational much of the time.    He eats and I am revived.  Then he won't eat and I crater.  No, I don't think he is in pain.  I do think he feels like shit. It breaks my heart to see him so thin and failing.  Poor guy. 

He can still climb the stairs but I have avoided going to the quilting "studio" to work on the long arm.  He is pretty weak and going up and down stairs, which he will do if I let him, is an effort.  Instead I have been playing on the 201 and practicing FMQ on scraps of batting and old sheets.  I figure that if I can get the pattern in my brain with practice on the 201, I can transfer that "memory" to the long arm.  Others do it, I can too.

I started with swirls and wavy lines, just for practice.  It isn't so easy.  I jerk the fabric around.  I am using small pieces, too.  Of course, with time, I improved.

Today I just started fooling around with paisleys and feathers.

I think that it will work out just fine on the long arm.  I will use a blending thread and the mistakes won't be so obvious.  I think I will practice some more on the smaller pieces so that I can get a more fluid motion to the pattern.  On the long arm, the pattern will be larger and more fluid, I am sure.

At the moment, my boy seems content.  He is asleep on the couch.  Today he ate almost two whole chicken breasts and a half a can of dog food.  Oh, and when I reached for the Greenies, he came trotting out to the kitchen, ears perked and eager for the treat.   I am not good at being present in the moment.  I know there will not be a miracle.  I wish that he was healthy.  I hate seeing him weaken.  I know that my job is to keep him comfortable and when the time comes, call the vet.  If he were to die in his sleep, that would be a beautiful blessing.

Friday, October 30, 2015


Mom's quilt is on the frame.  The design evolved as I quilted it.

First, I marked off this white border in 8 inch blocks.  Then I quilted one line along the marks to divide the border into sections intending to quilt feathers in each one.

I pondered that for a long time after I made those lines.

I decided, instead, to center a feather in the middle, separated by several straight lines (4 inches worth, 1/4 inch apart) and attempt an elongated spiral from Angela Walter's Craftsy class.  I am not displeased with the results.

This corner I ripped out and re-did.  I am seriously considering ripping out part of the middle feather, too.  The echoing looks bad, to me.
But overall, for a novice, I think I did pretty well.  Incidentally, I did not use a ruler for the vertical lines.  I just set the channel lock but didn't lock it totally down.  Worked pretty well.